Do you know someone living in the land of rebellion? Making bad choices. Running with a partying crowd. Throwing caution to the wind. Caught in the wilderness of loneliness and emptiness. Heading down the path to a very dark place.
And not wanting help from anyone who tells them to stop.
I lived in the land of rebellion for twenty years after my dad died. I know it all too well. It starts out fun. But there comes a time when the luster wears off. The weight of rebellion is overpowering. In our struggle to survive, we counter-intuitively shut out everyone who tries to speak truth into our life. We don’t need their help. They don’t understand us. They don’t know what we’ve really been through. We don’t want people telling us how to live our life.
We’re tired of them. We’re tired of trying to be someone we’re not. But we’re also tired of running. Truthfully, we’re just plain tired.
I have a friend whose 18 year old daughter, “Amy”, is deep in the land of rebellion. Amy lived a very tough life as a little girl. She was molested for several years by a stepbrother, but no one knew. When she finally told her mother (a couple of years after the stepfather and stepbrother moved out), Amy was barely hanging on to hope and life. She was in and out of counseling. Had several failed suicide attempts. Spent a couple of months living at a group home for girls struggling with similar real life trauma. But Amy didn’t have her driver’s license and eventually dropped out of school. Because she couldn’t drive, she couldn’t get a job. She was frustrated with her mother. And this year, when she turned 18, Amy boldly declared that no one could force her to do anything anymore. So she was given the choice to go live at a house where she could earn her GED and receive work training, or go to a women’s shelter downtown. She chose the women’s shelter. She was out on the streets during the day and in the shelter at night. For about a week. Then she met a “boyfriend” who convinced her to go out on the streets full-time. And that’s where she is now.
Amy is living a nightmare. She has no money. She’s isolated herself from her family. She’s giving herself away for companionship, somehow convincing herself that this person is taking care of her.
I wish this story wasn’t true but it is. A lot of us have spent time in the land of rebellion in one way or another. Some of us are still there today. And there comes a time when clarity pervades the dark lies. We want to go home. Pride and our new friends tell us the lie that no one wants us back. And so we give up hope and go deeper into the dark land of rebellion.
Even in Jesus’ day the land of rebellion had an appealing lure.
Jesus told the story of a wealthy man’s son who asked for his inheritance so he could spend it on the high life of partying and self-indulgence. But after squandering everything he had, he was barely hanging on to hope and life in the land of rebellion. In a moment of clarity, the son pushed his pride aside and made the decision to go back home, even if it meant being a servant in his father’s household instead of an heir. To his surprise, while he was still a long way from the house, his father came running out to meet him. He showered the son with love and forgiveness, and restored him to a place of honor.
This is how God receives us.
No matter where we’ve been. No matter where we are. No matter what we’ve done. No matter how long we’ve been gone. Even if we’ve ever known God before. He wants us to know Him now. He wants us to come home to Him. He’s ready to run out and meet us, and shower us with His love and forgiveness.
For anyone running or living in the land of rebellion, it’s time to go home. God is ready and waiting.
We have to understand that our parents, family and friends may be skeptical. It may take some time for them to see that we really want to get out of the land of rebellion. And that’s okay. Eventually, they too will receive us with love and forgiveness when they see our commitment to change.
“So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” Luke 16:20
May I pray?
Father God, the land of rebellion is a dark place that’s hard to escape. It’s full of lies that keep us in bondage. Lord, I lift up to You anyone struggling to get out today. Give them the courage to turn to You and pray for Your help. Give them the courage to call someone and ask for help. Please open a door so they can take the first step toward leaving the land of rebellion and coming home. And for those of us who know someone in the land of rebellion, grant us the wisdom to know how to reach out to them in love without condemnation and offer our help. Amen.
Q4U: Are you ready to leave the land of rebellion and head home to God?